Gerald Hodges

Gerald Hodges spent five weeks waiting for a chance to continue his NFL career, a wait that felt like forever at times. 

He fielded a couple of calls from teams, but he didn't get any workouts, something of a surprise for a player who started 12 games last season and finished with a career-high 83 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions in San Francisco.

New Orleans finally bit, working him out after the Saints returned from London last week and then signing him on Wednesday. 

A feeling of excitement washed over Hodges.

"Overwhelmed at one point, before I got to practice, because at one point I wasn't playing football for five weeks," Hodges said. 

Hodges, a four-year veteran of Minnesota and San Francisco, knew the Saints might be calling. After his workout last week, New Orleans told him to sit tight and wait for the call that finally came this week.

"They stuck to their word." Hodges said. "They might not think that's big, but for me, that's huge, because for one, it just starts off on a note of great trust. ... I'm just excited to get here and get a new opportunity."

Hodges gives a Saints linebacker group that just lost rookie Alex Anzalone to shoulder surgery an experienced defender who can back up any spot. 

"I've played every linebacker position there is," Hodges said. "I'm coming in here to do whatever they ask me to do."

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.